The Memorial Room Windows
The Artist — Professor John Hatch
The windows in the MUB's Memorial Room were designed by UNH Art Professor John Hatch. Hatch taught at UNH from 1949 - 1985 and was best known as a painter of landscapes. Hatch captured the essence of New Hampshire in his paintings of the White Mountains and the Isles of Shoals. Prior to his death in 1998, Hatch was honored as a “New Hampshire Living Treasure” by Governor Jeanne Shaheen who presented him with the biennial Governor's Award in Arts.
When plans were being made in the 1950’s for the construction of building and the Memorial Room, John Hatch was honored with the opportunity to design a tribute window. Hatch had served in World War II in the Pacific campaign as a map topographer. Hatch was a new faculty member and had yet to earn the acclaim that would come to him later in his career, so some in the University community were surprised in his selection for this special job. The doubts continued when his very modern design for the windows was approved over a traditional cathedral-style stained glass look. It was the only window Hatch ever made although he painted murals throughout the University and in other public buildings. Today, the windows are a revered piece of public art on the UNH campus.
The window was manufactured by and funded through a grant from Monsanto Chemical Company in Detroit, with the help of Stanley King, class of ’26, who was then director of sales. The only of its kind in the world, the window uses safety glass and required the development of a new paint pigment that was lightfast, translucent and strong in color. For the pigment to have a translucent quality, it needed to be ground for 70 hours. Each panel of optically ground glass is ¼ of an inch thick, and made of of three sheets of plastics and a film of paint sandwiched between two panes of glass.
In 1995, the Memorial Union Building underwent extensive renovations and the location of the Memorial Room and the windows shifted from the west end of the building to its current location at the east end of the third floor. John Hatch supervised their removal and storage. With concerns about how the windows would fare in the move, Hatch’s collaboration with the construction company ensured their preservation. Today, students and visitors are able to enjoy the windows from an improved vantage point and can be reminded of the meaning of the building's status as a war Memorial.
After Hatch's death in 1998, the original models he made of the windows were bequeathed to the Memorial Union Building and have been placed on display outside the Memorial Room.